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First Steps towards Underdominant Genetic Transformation of Insect Populations

Reeves, R. Guy, Bryk, Jarek, Altrock, Philipp M., Denton, Jai A. and Reed, Floyd A. (2014) First Steps towards Underdominant Genetic Transformation of Insect Populations. PLoS ONE, 9 (5). e97557. ISSN 1932-6203

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The idea of introducing genetic modifications into wild populations of insects to stop them from spreading diseases is more than 40 years old. Synthetic disease refractory genes have been successfully generated for mosquito vectors of dengue fever and human malaria. Equally important is the development of population transformation systems to drive and maintain disease refractory genes at high frequency in populations. We demonstrate an underdominant population transformation system in Drosophila melanogaster that has the property of being both spatially self-limiting and reversible to the original genetic state. Both population transformation and its reversal can be largely achieved within as few as 5 generations. The described genetic construct {Ud} is composed of two genes; (1) a UAS-RpL14.dsRNA targeting RNAi to a haploinsufficient gene RpL14 and (2) an RNAi insensitive RpL14 rescue. In this proof-of-principle system the UAS-RpL14.dsRNA knock-down gene is placed under the control of an Actin5c-GAL4 driver located on a different chromosome to the {Ud} insert. This configuration would not be effective in wild populations without incorporating the Actin5c-GAL4 driver as part of the {Ud} construct (or replacing the UAS promoter with an appropriate direct promoter). It is however anticipated that the approach that underlies this underdominant system could potentially be applied to a number of species.


Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Schools: School of Applied Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Sara Taylor
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2015 14:40
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2015 18:50


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